Social Comparison and Social Exchange in Marital Relationships

  • Nico W. VanYperen
  • Bram P. Buunk
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


During this century, the nature of marital relationships has changed considerably. This is particularly apparent from the classic Middletown studies conducted by the sociologists Robert and Helen Merrell Lynd (1929), who examined various aspects of life in a “typical” American city, including family life, earning an income, child rearing, religion, leisure, and social life, at the beginning of the century. The observations of these scholars on the state of marriage in Middletown indicate that, at all social levels, a husband was expected to provide a good living, while the most desired duty of a wife was being a good mother and a housekeeper and, in the business class, a social pacesetter. Remarkably, a high degree of companionship and openness between husband and wife were not regarded as essential to marriage. Both spouses had their own leisure activities, socializing mainly with their own gender, with joint pursuits being sparse. Moreover, both husband and wife took for granted that men and women were different creatures whose situations were nearly incomparable.


Intimate Relationship Social Comparison Social Exchange Relationship Satisfaction Marital Satisfaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nico W. VanYperen
    • 1
  • Bram P. Buunk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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